tv Charlie Rose WHUT July 3, 2009 9:00am-10:00am EDT
>> rose: welcome to the broadcast. tonight a look at president obama through the eyes of richard wolffe who covered him during the campaign and has written a new book called "renegade" >> everyone says he's very cool under fir and does very any owe motion at all? well, i saw him when he was grumpy and frustrated. and he could get annoyed with me, with questions. he wants, i think, to be pushed but doesn't always enjoy it i thought my job was to probe and analyze. >> rose: we continue with guillermo del toro, has cowritten his first book about vampires called "the stream" >> monsters are incredibly beautiful, fragile creatures because they need imagination to be sustained it. what horrifys me is reality. the banality of this existence we're starting to live which is like a tabloid
existence. a reality-show existence. i like monsters because they are absolute representations of something. >> rose: wolffe and del toro next. >> funding for charlie rose has been provided by the following: captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
>> rose: richard wolffe is here, he covered the 2008 presidential race while he was a correspondent for "newsweek" magazine. he tells the story of barack obama's rise and campaign in his new book "renegade: the making of a president" >> i'm pleased to have richard wolffe on this broadcast, welcome. >> thank you, charlie. >> an -- come back. >> thank you. >> nice to see you." renegade "happens to be the president's name give ben the secret service. >> yes, and they say there is no corelation at all between character and the code name about i kind of think there is. >> rose: cheney was angler, was it. >> angler. >> rose: and bush was? >> i think at one point he was tumble weed. but the interesting thing here for me was a starting point for the conversation. it is not a perfect characterization, it's a code name, after all. but for a guy who break the rules, who doesn't wait his turn but is also a very disciplined, sometimes even hesitant and doubtful rule-breaker, that was the construct for me. >> rose: 21 months, how many interviews? >> i counted at more than a dozen.
often, you know, we had the formal sit-down interviews with the voice recorders and the handlers. but some of the best stuff was the sort of rolling conversation we had. the encounter in the hotel lobby or after a game of basketball, you know, along the way. >> rose: you played with him. >> several times. don't be surprised because i'm small and from england but hey --. >> rose: there are some very good small basketball players. >> i'm not sure i'm one of them. >> rose: there also this, though. the -- he suggested the idea. >> he did. >> rose: to you. >> he did. and i told him it was a stupid idea. >> rose: did you really? >> i really did. you know --. >> rose: -- had written a great chronicle of the 1960 campaign, kennedy. >> he did. and that's what he had in mind. i said to him i thought -- i loved the teddy white books too. but i thought the genre was kind of exhausted. people just weren't publishing or reading that kind of thing any more. they like the partisan stuff about why republicans are evil and democrats are stupid. >> rose: and also newspapers,
teddy white did that over a period of time which nobody else did it. today everybody is doing that. >> right. >> rose: the nature of the coverage. >> right. and that was my concern as well. and he looked very crest fallen. i'm sure he recovered finement but i went back and reconsidered and thought well, maybe we can revive this. and reinvent it. so teddy white was an inspiration but not an aspiration. i mean there were elements of it that i thought were still fresh, especially the start, opening, on election day, the idea that the last 24, 36 hours are something very special. but a lot of the stuff in between that felt new, i think in 1960, the statistical stuff, just doesn't hold up today. >> rose: talking with strategists and all that. >> yeah. >> rose: so what was the nature of the relationship? obviously it's reporter-candidate. >> yes, it is. >> rose: but was it more. did you ever have conflict, did you have -- >> oh, yes, absolutely. that's one of the funny things about watching him now. everyone says he's very cool under fire and does he have any owe motion at all?
well, i saw him when he was grumpy. and frustrated. and he could get annoyed with me, with questions. he wants, i think, to be pushed but doesn't always enjoy it and i thought my job was to probe and analyze. look this is my third presidential campaign and i thought for any of us who covered the 2000 campaign where there seem to be no real substance and he had a very charismatic, charming dant, i thought we all had an obligation to push these people. did they know something more than the talking points? could they adapt over the course of 21 months a long time? could they adapt to real life, current affairs? especially in foreign policy which is one of my first loves. so i was pushing him on. and i think he responded to that. in fact, i think that may have been why we connected rses he liked the challenge of having to -- >> i think de. >> rose: of having to define himself. >> i think the process of the stories, who is up, who is down, the poll numbers,
were actually easy for him. he thought that was taking --. >> rose: tactical analysis. >> yeah, it was trivial. >> rose: here's what is interesting to me. of his own self awareness, and how he described himself, which part of that didn't ring true for you? where is he trying to promote an image which may not be at the heart of who he is? >> s this's a great question. i remember one conversation we had early in the primary phase where he told me, you know, i could walk away from all of this. and i just said what do you mean, you could walk away from all of this. and he said you know, i could go back and you know, be with my family. i said what, teach law and just hang out with your kids. >> he said yeah, yeah, i could do that. i'm not sure she could, meaning hillary clinton. and i just said i don't believe it i just don't believe it. >> rose: i don't either. >> so his self-image was that it was fine. >> rose: his self-image was that he didn't need it. >> he didn't need it. which is a presidential
construct. the people want me to do this. but he said now they have annoyed me. now i really want to win. and there this conflict here between a guy who is incredibly competitive, really, he has to win. he's driven to win. but is comfortable enough with himself or at least he thinks he is that he doesn't need to strife. there's an effort of being ertless. >> rose: that's well said. >> a story in the book where he has to -- he has to mem orize this big speech in iowa, the jj dinner speech which is the launch pad for many candidates. he has to mem orize it, as you can tell from the use of the teleprompter today, he doesn't really mem orize anything. and he doesn't tell his staff anything. they don't know if he is prepping. he goes back to his hotel room every night, turns on the tv really loud, the staff thinks this is kind of strange and he rehearses on his reading outloud. >> mem orizing it, committing it to mem reechlt so when they go through the first runthrough, all the aides are nervous.
has he got it, has he done any work on it, they don't know. he aces it. that is the sort of study, the effort behind the performance. >> rose: when i read that i said this is a defining example of what he a here -- appears to me to be like. >> rate. >> rose: someone who is ambitioncious, ambition is a good thing. someone who set a goal, a good thing. he went to chicago to become a community organizer because he wanted to find a route to public office, i believe. >> a couple of things. i think he -- first of all, heant wanted to add some roots to his life because he had this rootless existence and his family was incredibly dysfunctional. not just an absent father but an absent mother too. so chicago was a place he could find some roots in. and he found among them jeremiah wright. community organizing was a way to connect with the dreams he had, literally the dreams to be part of the civil rights movement. which he was obviously too young for. he came too late for that. and so and the third piece of it was discipline.
i repeatedly put in the book about malcolm x being a model for him. malcolm x wasn't a community organizer but one thing he loved about malcolm x as a reader and, i believe, as a writer was what he called the repeated acts of self-creation of malcolm x. and this idea that he is a self-made man, that he could will himself into being by this disciplined approach to organizing himself, organizing the community. i think was key. he is his project. i mean, you know, some of his critics say it is nars sis particular. but he is a self-made person and by any objective analysis, having the childhood he had, he really ought to be a mess. there should not be any trace of discipline, that comes from him and it's a constant effort, i believe. >> rose: looking at the jeremiah wright thing, what was intriguing to me too, at the insight you had, that he visited jeremiah wright before he went to make his speech at the national press club. >> uh-huh. >> rose: no one knew about that.
>> nobody knew. it was a lot of secrecy. >> rose: did anyone ask the question of the candidate during that time, have you seen jeremiah wright? >> yes. in fact, i think i did. >> rose: and the answer was? >> he dodged it. >> rose: how did he dodge it in front of you? >> we haven't connected at this point or --. >> rose: so the followup is have you tried. >> next question. >> rose: oh, really. so you couldn't ask a followup and followup to that. but had all this access. >> oh, yeah, no, i -- that was something that the secret meeting was something i discovered later. this was incredibly sensitive at the time. they really thought that jeremiah wright could bring down the entire campaign, the two-year effort could be brought down not so much by the first round of it, but by the comeback tour. they saw their numbers collapsing. so everything about it was radioactive. >> rose: here's what else interests me about the jeremiah wright. and i know this because of your book. the idea that he had an early premonition and that
there may be some trouble with the sermons with jeremiah wright so he ordered the staff to go over them. >> and they never did --. >> rose: unfortunately it never happened. that suggestion he knew the inflammatory nature of the speeches and, in fact, heard them. and therefore any other -- >> yeah, well his friends suspected there was something in there. and clearly this is a speaker what, jeremiah wright, who was seeking it to provoke. and one of his friends explained, you know, if reverend wright could be outrageous and make the world seem outrageous, then maybe your problems weren't so great. it was a way of putting the world back into focus. but they knew that there were danger points in there. and i actually think the dirty secret of it was that he wasn't in church very often. and this was kind of embarrassing. >> rose: so when he may have ordered this up. >> it was embarrassing. >> rose: he didn't want people to know he didn't go to church. >> he had brian a article about how political office holders should pay attention
to communities of faith. there is a whole chapter on faith. >> rose: what does that suggest to you, richard? >> that there is, along with this sense of authenticity, a degree of showmanship and even articifice yes, a theatrical performance that this president and then candidate knew that he could perform. for a start, i think he's actually a loner. i actually think for all of his comfort on stage, he is most comfortable on his own. so he knows he's performing. and he's good with it. but don't mean to say the public persona is the real thing. >> rose: and how is isn't the public persona the real thing? >> because he likes to be on his own. because i don't think actually --. >> rose: when he walks out to make a speech it's almost like he is above the seen. he's looking of the moment and above the moment. >> but the clever thing is as a community organizer, he
understood the power of saying, of breaking down the barrier. my story is like your story. and your story is like the person standing next to you or person down the street. and weaving together people's stories is a technique that nobody could see, but it had a political impact. not just a narrative. he does it in his books. he calls them secretary red stories. he goes around chicago collecting these stories about the community. that is how you build the community, how you build the organization. but it is a technique. >> rose: bill clinton sat at this table once when i asked him about his intelligence. he said i have a certain intelligence that worked and served me well in politics. i know how to connect the dots. >> uh-huh. >> rose: it seems to me what he did was he made his narrative america's narrative. and america's narrative, his narrative. >> that's right. >> rose: and all of a sudden you had a story for america. >> with him as the story teller, the power of being the narrator of the story is very important. not just telling his story but telling america's story. you know, as a community organizer you have to not just collect these stories but create a narrative.
those, that period he was writing journals which became dreams from my father. and this takes me back to malcolm x, by the way. because malcolm x's classic book, the autobiography, quote, unquote, was as told to alex hailey. alex hailey developed this. this sort of semi fictionalized weaving together of truth and idealism, let's put it as. and i think he did that very powerfully, politically and by the way in terms of book writing. >> rose: churchill said -- >> yes, and churchill came out pretty well froming it, from the history he wrote. >> rose: you build on dreams of my father in terms of how that whole -- how he defined it. >> right. >> rose: and you believe what is at the essence of that. >> dreams from my father is a bit of a distorted view. because as someone who wasn't there and in many ways the journey of discovery is really what that book is about. and the journey involved -- look, his mother wanted him
to see himself as a citizen of the world. in fact, i quote him saying that his mother thought at times she was quote, unquote, not white. so he, his discovery of himself is really him telling the story of the journey. and it's the process of piecing these things together that really makes him who he is. that's not always satisfying because in the end, he doesn't connect with his father. he doesn't really connect with his mother either it but he had that choice. he was a middle class kid, not a working class kid. like michelle obama's family, one bedroom bungalow on the south side of chicag that's where her mother was living until she moved into the white house. so really an extraordinary journey but he had the opportunity to be, as he put it, a citizen of the world and tushed his back on it he had the opportunity to not really be rooted in religion. his mother wasn't. she has this very sort of
frankly hippie view of spiritual commonality. she was an anthropologist. now he can be an anthropologist. he can step outside his own society, his own culture, even outside his own -- his own world, but he wanted to find his roots. and he found them both as a community organizer but also in his marriage to michelle obama. >> rose: he found that experience of -- >> he wanted a family where the father was home every night for dinner. a nuclear family in a big american city, an african-american identity. he chose that. >> rose: he said early on from your book, that he -- after the campaign but before the election he had begun to focus on hillary clinton as his secretary of state. >> yeah. >> rose: because she had certain qualities. >> uh-huh. >> rose: discipline, inteelect, toughness. >> that's right. >> rose: suggesting those are the qualities he admires. >> absolutely. and this is at a time when the wounds are still so raw. i mean his friends, his
aides, and even he really feel passionate about the kinds of exchanges they had. the blows she landed on him, it was very, very painful. you don't have to go back that far to see what they were saying about each other. >> rose: what was it that they said that made him feel wounded? >> that he wasn't ready to be commander in chief. that he was just like jesse jackson after he won in south carolina. south carolina was a big deal for them. the constant sort of --. >> rose: winning or clinton's reaction. >> the belittling, yeah. the belittling of him. the idea that he was a rookie. that he was naive and inexperienced and not up to it. not worthy of the contest. i think that was intensely annoying and more insulting. >> rose: what is it that he believes? what is his ideology? is it only practicality? >> well, i think he hassle
vated pragmatic politics to a different level. and if you -- if you listen to the 2004 convention speech, his breakthrough moment, this is a slippery political character in the sense that if you are going to unit red america and blue america you are a compromised candidate. the line of that compromise is not easy to predict. and it was difficult for his campaign to understand where the line was. he likes to think of himself as an innovative policy thinker. but the idea that so long after the heat of the cold war and the battles, the ideaological battles of the reagan era, the idea that you are going to have a clean ideaological description of this guy is i think actually kind of naive. >> rose: but you think it's being shaped now by the decisions he'll have to make, he will have to come hard against, what does he believe in. >> yeah. >> rose: and whether he is making decisions.
>> well, he wants to be the reagan of the left. he wants to be a transform difficult figure to shift the balance of american debate to the left. there is no question about it. >> rose: how do you know that? >> because of the way he talked about reagan. because of the way he expressed it to me. >> rose: how did he talk about reagan? >> he fought reagan while he opposed just about every one of his policies. as a community organizer he was dealing sort of at the roughened of on the streets, especially the economic policies. he admires his ability to be a great president, the moment of the time, the coming together of the time and the man and the lasting impact he had in shifting the debate to one side. now he considered from a completely different angle, of course. his instincts on when he talks about health care, we're in the middle of a health care debate. he said quite openly if you could do it all over again if you can could start from scratch, we want a single payor system. now that is about as close to a definition of progressive or liberal as
you could get. but being pragmatic, he says we're not going to do that. so he's intensely pragmatic about it. now look at how closely he defends the public option. that's going to be a defining moment for him whether it ends up as a full-blown system. >> rose: because is the one item that the right is jumping on. >> cannot stand, cannot stand. >> rose: and will use that to try to define him as a president. >> yeah. >> rose: uh-huh t that is who we told you he was. >> but he has a social project in mind. he wants to taken this and leave that as his legacy, i have no doubt about that. >> rose: say that in different words. >> that he wants to say -- he wants to start, to transform difficult, change the entire framework of health care delivery in this country. but beyond that, to reshape the playing field so that competition moves differently because of government action, that government in conservative terms is the solution and not the problem here. that it can deliver health care better, with low
administrative costs. that's a distinctly liberal view of what government can do. and how it should affect every part of society. the private sector, delivery of health care, i means that's an ambitious liberal project. >> rose: there are two events that are interesting to me in this as well. one is the defeat in the race for congress. >> uh-huh. >> rose: what did that do to him? >> well, he -- apart from hating losing, he is still searing for him. he gets very defensive about it. he says oh, i didn't do so badly. i only lost by 19 points. well, no, he did really badly. >> rose: 19 points. >> he says oh, i just -- i didn't poll before i made my decision. that was my mistake. well, it was a bit more than that. this is a sort of unchecked self-confidence. and normally his discipline is very good at checking that kochiness, frankly, that can be there. now you need to be confident as a leader, you do, otherwise you wouldn't run for president, you wouldn't
try and lead the free world. but he thought that he saw weakness in bobby rush in chicago, where there was none. he underestimated the power of ethnic politics, one of his mentors told me thank goodness he was bad at ethnic politics because if he had been good at it he wouldn't be running for president and obviously now been be president. but there was an idea that personal charm, times were right for him to just go do this. so when he came back to his friends afterwards after really getting beaten very badly and said he was going to run for senate, they all laughed at him. and intact tom daschle, obviously, you know, leading figure in the democratic party when he saw him, he thought, you know, i can see a talent but losing a race for the half is not the best platform for running for senate. that was 2004 and he ended up obviously being one of the few bright spots for democrats in 2004. >> rose: that is the second point. in 2004 he got to deliver the convention peach at the democratic national convention. that ignited a national -- >> it did. >> rose: attention for him.
>> it did. >> rose: how did that happen? and how much of it was his understanding that if i can get this shot with my rhetorical skills, it will put me into another zone? >> well, a state senator from illinois doesn't get to really have the platform. this is a combination of events. someone who has a unifying, positive message, which is very important for that convention, that kerry and bob shrum wanted at that time, david axelrod's connections with all of these people, his political advisor, his con significantly airy, just having the access, and him as the most adviceable symbol of diversity. i don't think there was any question the diversity helped him. >> rose: so who made the decision? >> well, bob kerrey john kerry and bob shrum. >> rose: he and kerry said yes. >> they are campaigned together. kerry had been impressed at some education event, i
think it was, in chicago. so there was something there. but it -- this isn't -- i don't think he sang that much of the event that he thought oh, he's the keynote speaker. >> rose: what don't you foe about him that he want to know. >> there's quite a lot. i think he is a hidden character. i think it is intentionally hidden. right now, i think the key question is how the presidency changes someonement because it does change you. i mean i saw it i interviewed him in the oval office and the -- the impatience, the moodiness came a little quicker. there was a presidential speed to the impatience. i think it's tough, difficult to -- difficult to change yourself into something different but maybe some of the characteristics are reinforced inside the white house because people are there to reinforce what you want, to predict what you want. so --. >> rose: not only that, you look at the world differently because you see the problems that you have
to make hard decisions. you can't just talk about them, you have to do them. >> and we're seeing that on a whole range of national security things, guantanamo. the rhetoric comes a lot easier. he actually finds it, i think, relatively simple to jettison some of his promises because -- because of that pragmatism. >> rose: and because he can. >> because he can. and because he's competitive. he wants to win. >> rose: for the country, for himself, for everybody. >> all of the above. >> rose: i didn't mention this, there are lots of other things that have gotten attention. one is that after the congressional -- failed congressional race there was some tension in the marriage and they overcame that. >> that's true. >> rose: and some other things. renegade, the making of a president by richard wolffe based on exclusive interviews with barack obama. thank you. >> thank you, charlie. pleasure. >> rose: back in a moment, stay with us.
>> rose: guillermo del toro is here, his films combine science fiction, fantasy and horror. over the years his work has a trakted a devoted cult following. phone for his rich imagination and passion for detail. in 2006 he earned widespread praise for" pan's labyrinth ". the film was an international success and won three academy awards. here is a look at some of his work. (speaking spanish) you and i,
>> world, here i come. >> rose: del toro has cowritten his first novel, it is called the strain, it is about one of his favorite topics, sram peirce. i'm pleased to have him back at this table. welcome. >> thank you, it's great to be here. >> rose: i watched you watch this. >> yeah. >> rose: little composite we put together, montage. and you're like a kid. >> it like an album. >> rose: like a family album. >> it is, because you know, creating monsters, i think, i'm fertile, only with monsters. i love -- i love, i'm the richard at enborrow of
monsters. i love starting them, creating them, knowing how they work. >> rose: what about vampires what is it about vampires. >> when i was a very young kid i was already a checker of books by age four or five i started collecting little paperbacks. and one of them at around age 7 i came upon a book thats with a treatise about vampire fact. in other words, it collected european lore about sram pirism. little details like a polish vampire actually doesn't have fangs, he has a sting their comes out of the tongue. or the fact that you can -- a vampire always returns to the family first and sram pirizing the family before it goes out into the world. and those things you can see in cron us or blade. and i started keeping -- i have the dire ease, my diarys with my drawings. and i started accumulating vampire lower. some it made it to krona, some to blade but a lot of it didn't find a way to find its way to movies. and one good day, i had the
idea for, the strain. >> rose: so what did you do? >> well, i started by thinking well w what would happen with a pandemic, a pandemic that actually ended up being an invasion by a vampire virus. an alien entity. the idea to formulate the vampirism is actually like a thinking cancer, a cancer that develops an alternate system of organs. takes over a human body and functions, kicks in and your engine changes. you belong to a life mentality. you become essentially a drone, an insect. and all these things started to get together. and i thought what would happen to the cdc on that pandemic. how would bureaucracy deal with that. and how would --. >> rose: you mean the center of disease krol control. >> yes, because they would be dealing with it. and little by little, unfortunately, the world caught with us but in all those years, it was still a fantasy. >> rose: this had something to do, something, as a kid.
you had this huge scary dreams. >> yes. i have lucid dreaming which meant you wake up in the bed that you are actually sleeping in. and you think are you in the room. and that it's real. and you see things, you know, i used to see monsters as a kid. >> rose: did that make its way into the strain. >> yes. actually there is one chapter that i wrote. it was originally a little story i wrote at age 14. and it's a chapter of a kid sitting by a window sill looking out into the street. and it's completely autobiographical. i mean i never saw a vampire. but it's me sitting at my grandmother's second floor window looking at the street at night. and waiting to see somebody walk by at 2:00, 3:00 a.m., and thinking what if that person turns and looks at me. >> rose: yeah. >> i mean, and that horror, that's in there. and many other things that are autobiographical are in there. >> rose: so what is inside
of your head? >> a lot of monsters. a lot of -- the idea that monsters are incredibly beautiful, fragile creatures because they need imagination to be sustained. what horrifys me is reality. the banality of this existence where starting to live which is like a tabloid existence, or reality-show existence, you know. i like monsters because they are absolutely representations of something. >> rose: when you look at monsters in contrast that with science fiction. >> yes. >> rose: what's more compelling to you? >> i'm to the a hardware guy. i really like monsters. i am biological, perverse, you know, anatomically perverse guy. and i'm into squishy things. the fantasy that appeals to me or the science science fiction that appeals to me has a humanistic strike, or an idea, a philosophical strike like philip k dick, sturgeon. i'm not into phasers, lasers or barbarians, sweaty
barbarians killing, rescueing big bosm princesss. i love stuff that has a little more meat to the bones, so to speak. >> rose: do they now just give you complete artistic control? >> i try to get it i try to get it. and each situation has gotten increasingly better. i feel very lucky now with peter and in the past with pedro to have been produced my two filmmakers i admire. and to have produced as a producer, had produced filmmakers i admire like juan antonio, for example. >> rose: when you were here before we did this wonderful conversation. >> yes. >> i was thinner then. >> rose: and you brought along a couple of your pals from mexico who also, giants in the film business. there has been this evolution for you though. >> uh-huh. >> rose: i mean you always were drew, yes? >> yes. >> rose: then you started out doing stage things. >> yeah, i did --. >> rose: building stages. >> well, what i did which
was curious, i used to be doing short films that were very odd and required sets and creatures. and i taught myself to draw, to paint, to skull to build these things for my short films. and then people started calling me to do it on their films. and i did it for a while until i got crohn was made. and my company did all the effects and then i closed my company. >> rose: i'm a filmmaker now. >> because i could afford somebody else. but i still dwell on it. like, you know, some sculptures hate had me because i will come in with the calipers and i would measure each dimention on the sculpture and tell them this is wrong, this is wrong. not that i can do it better, but i know enough that i can -- i know they can do it better. >> rose: so what is the quality that does it, a sense of proportionality. >> in a way. to have a really good sense of balance, the first thing on any monster design, the first thing visually is the silhouette. if we were to go by details
i would say you figure out the silhouette first. that is easy or hard to read but in an elegant way. if you want it to keep changing line the monster is never clear, you want it to be a silhouette that depending on the pulse or the action shifts. or something really beautiful and elegant that can be read really quick. second comes the details. and people normally sculpt the details first. i say no, no, don't texture anything until we get the silhouette. then texture some color. and that is the way you progress that. >> rose: if i went back to your childhood in mexico. >> yes. >> rose: . >> what a horror. >> rose: well s it a horror? >> it was. it was spiritually because i -- i grew -- you know, the catholic deal i got as a kid was really puzzling. you know, you are four, five years old, six years old and somebody tells you, look, there is something we need to talk to you about which is called original sin. and we want you to know that you are going to pay for it. and atone for it the rest of
your life. and i go oh, really. and then they tell you and then you're going to die. and no matter what you do you are going to go to purgatoryee. >> rose: what is in it for me. >> yes, exactly. and you know, so the childhood was full of this sinister, very -- i mean mexican cath civil is really tortorous and well gory, the iconography, is really brutal and gory and extreme. you know, you have this statutes of jesus laid out in a box of glass. and he's purple with exposed bone and bruces and -- bruises and bleeding and it is really affecting. >> rose: how did it effect your spirituality or relige crossity. >> it does, because at the same time you get a sense, an immediate impact that is morbid. you know, you -- and then they tell you are you going to eat the flesh and drink the blood of that gentleman
there. and the presentation is not exactly appealing. it's not like a buffet. it's laid out in a -- an incredibly shocking way. and you are 7, 8, years old and then they say well, now come and lead the pledge of the world. >> rose: so you think religion should be marketed better. >> i don't know. you know, immersefully -- lams as a catholic. i am an atheist thank god once a catholic, always a catholic. >> rose: so are you not with him. >> no, i've lapsed enough. i believe in man. i believe in mankind as the worst and the best that has happened to this world. >> rose: your father was kidnapped for like 72 hours. >> no, 72 days. >> rose: 72 days. >> 72 days. and it was quite a harrowing. but it was -- i really believe i have this strange theory that must be very cancelling that actually pain shows you what you
need. i believe life gives you what you need, not what you want. we discovered this somewhere in the past. and people think that getting what you want is great. and i don't think so. getting what you need. so i always see what is coming and whatever happens, i go, what can i learn from this. and we became a better, a stronger family after the kidnapping. and i became a stronger man after the kidnapping. >> rose: so what do you need now? >> i don't know. it's coming. whatever -- i tell you, i -- i really -- it's so weird. i really abandon myself to what happens. >> rose: do you really? >> yeah, i don't --. >> rose: is it fate though or is it something else? >> no, i think you got to work a lot for what you think is right. but when things come, you got to analyze and say why did it happen. why did it go that way. >> rose: don't you think some things are just inexplicable? >> i think that it's our task and it has been the task of man to try and figure out a, why it
happened. how it happened. i'm not saying that you find the wisdom of it happening. but to find what should not be repeated from it happening. for example. and that's perfectly objective lesson that we seemingly don't learn at all. because, you know, the fact that we have constant cultural, physical, human holocausts happening year after year, decade after decade shows that we have very little desire to really learn from any of that. >> rose: okay. but let me just understand this. if for some reason something terrible would happen to someone you love very much. >> yes. >> i would think about it. i would --. >> rose: would you -- would you rationalize it. >> no. >> rose: that somehow it was -- >> no, emotionally i would not shy from it. in other words, i would not -- you know --. >> rose: you open yourself to it. >> i would. i think that if you don't live it, if you don't -- if you don't live that, then that pain is going to be repeated later on a grander scale.
i really believe it i mean it's a strange belief but i am convinced of it. and with my father's kidnapping, we really simply tried to become better. i mean some families are destroyed by kidnapping. >> rose: right. >> we saw it. some other families that --. >> rose: in mexico. >> in mexico. some families completely get torned by it. the sons don't want to pay the ransom or they want to find a way to find financing that is secure. and we completely just took it as our life task to rescue him no matter what. >> rose: so what happened in your case? >> well, he came back. he had to pay twice. we paid once and then they told us now you have to double the money. out of the blue. and we paid the second time and he came back and the night he came back, is one of the most beautiful moments. it is one moment when he came back and he really was -- my father, like i've never seen him since or
before. he was completely open. i got a glimpse of him. because he is a very strong guy but he's a very closed guy. and i got a glimpse of him that i would never forget. >> rose: so what do you think, love or pain has the most impact on us? >> i think both. i really think the fact that we live in a society that tells you all the time that pain is bad, that you should shy away from it, that comfort is great. it's horrifying for me because i think that you don't shy away from comfort or from pain. you should take whatever comes your way. and i think that's a better approach. when people tell you for your comfort -- and you drive through, you eat this, you -- everything seems to be drive-threw. >> rose: in some ways comfort is soft, too. >> it is. this coming from a fat man may sound suspicious. >> rose: fat man. >> absolutely. yeah, mr. exercise, you know. but you know, i think, for example, one of the things i
have done or do carson mccaller the heart is a lonely hunter. >> rose: absolutely. >> i would love to do that book as a movie. i love the old movie with alan arcin and sandra lock but i think the book is so much more full of possibilities. that type of story i would love to do. >> rose: so what are you doing to do it? do you announce you want to do it, that's good. >> i'm not going to tackle it next. but i really, i find that you know, i'll get to it when it feels natural.
i am, for example, attracted to crime, crime literature. >> rose: no kidding. chuck hogan writes crime literature. >> prince of thieves, i love that. >> rose: go off on this tangent for a secretary. how did you end up with him writing the strain. >> i really love the fact that chuck was a really immerseive writer. i read his novels. i thought he was incredibly strong on factual stuff. and i sent him what i had. and i said would you like to partner, like literally cowrite this with me. and he had read what i had. and he loved it. and we met in new york. and we talked for about four hours. and then we started working through e-mail which i do often. and i have written 17 screenplays or cowritten. and every time we send back and forth documents. >> rose: on e-mail. >> yeah, on e-mail. and i would write chapters. he would write chapters. we would send them to each other, correct each other, edit each other.
>> rose: is this better than having one vision and one person's imagination? >> i enjoy it because as long as -- look, listen, it's really horrible to say. as long as i'm the director -- you know what i'm saying. it's like, it's like really democratic until it comes to the final moment. then it's a dictatorship. >> rose: so you know, as long as you know the ultimate decision is yours, you're happy. >> yeah, i am. but i really -- i am a benign dictator. i do listen. >> rose: you listen but in the end. >> yeah, but for example, chuck came up with one of the great characters in the novel which is a rat catcher in new york city. that becomes one of the main protagonist that realizes what going on. and it such a by sfwlar character. he came up with that. >> rose: a rat catcher. >> a rat catcher, you know, an exterminater. and he realizes what is going on. and i fell in love with him. i have nothing to do with his creation. he came up with it. and so on and so forth. you know, we argued. i actually argued with him a lot of times on him putting
back stuff. >> rose: you were trying to get him to put it back. >> there was stuff he took out on one pass and i said we need that. either from me or from him. i would argue. i really enjoy the hell out of writing this book. >> rose: but you have written these screenplays as you talked about. but was this -- is writing as satisfying as directing? >> i tell you, it's a different feel. >> rose: of course. >> but i love it. i am now, i am now, what i am doing in my mornings, i'm writing short stories or little, fleshing out in the literary form stuff. because look, out of those 17 screenplays or 16 jean plays, whatever it is, i have only made seven movies. meaning that nine movies have been written and they are really beautiful documents. but nobody is going to read them. nobody goes i found an unproduced screenplay, who is the highest bidder. it doesn't happen. >> rose: not going happen. >> nobody finds the great movie that or son wells
never did. i mean they find it, but you don't find about t --. >> rose: explain that, i need to understand that. let's assume that or son wells had been working on something. >> which he was. >> rose: he was, exactly. no one will ever be able to make that. >> they do it, they do it but it's not any more an or son wells movie. i mean george -- i think shot one of the screenplays wells had and proud. but as a literary form, they're going to always stay halfway there. and i really find writing this way, i find that they have a liefer of their own. and they are complete in one way. i mean i love the fact that we have no ratings. no -- no constrictions. i can intro specific with the ca,. screenplays are always written in present tense. >> rose: right. >> you are saying george walks to the window. and you can, if you say something strange like there is an aura of mantist in the
room. you have to say the room is dimly lit. there is a low humming sound, you know, you have to make it plausible to objectivize those things. and the liberating thing about this is i can tell you, i can objectivize and describe and use metaphor. i'm free to do stuff that i find incredibly liberating. i am enjoying it. >> rose: now is this going to be any kind of -- i mean what will this lead to, the strain? >> well, we -- when i plotted that, i plotted three books. i plotted the idea, the idea of --. >> rose: you are an entrepreneur, is what are you. >> no, because i really -- i said let's get vampires out of the system once and for all, you know, like, i've been putting little bits here, little bits there, let's put it all out. and i am ambition bycious with that. i want us to reinvent an oblique mythology that allows you to see the origin of vampires as spiritual and physical creatures in a way that hasn't been done
before. this book, aside from the morbid detail and attention to anatomy and biology that i think is unique in it, also has, for example, a unique and really harrowing detail, attention to detail on each of the drainings of the victims. i really want to put you on the place, you know, because vampire fiction most of the sometime deal with it like a form of copulation. they say i rush comes over here body. >> it is erotic. >> it very erotic. and this is as erotic as a leech draining a cap ree sun, little -- and for you to feel that are you being essentially drained of life is not a pleasant experience. and i describe them in a way, in a way that is central but not sexual. you i want to put you there. i want you to know what it
feels to have the thumping chest of the vampire against you as it feels excited about draining you. but at the same time you're dying. and the fingers cork screwing the hair and pulling tight. i mean it is really incredibly perverse, the book. vampires in this book are as romantic as rectal cancer, you know, absolutely brutal, brutal creatures. >> rose: is there a definitive documentary or book about vampires? >> i think there are several. my favorites are, as i said, in the nonliterary form in the factual vampire books there is one book that was published in the 1700s that is a treaties about spirits, demons and vampires by very dodgy priest called -- another dodgy priest really dodgy, a guy somers wrote several treaties. the vampire in europe,
vampire, his kids and kin. natural history of vampireism by edwards. passport to the supernatural by berrd herwood. all these are really great books to read. >> rose: listen this. dedicated to lorenza. >> my wife. >> rose: mariana. >> my daughter. >> rose: marisa. >> my other daughter. >> rose: and to all the monsters in my nursery. >> yes. >> rose: may you never leave me alone. >> that's exactly right. >> rose: you want them never to leave them alone. >> i want my daughters and all the creatures. >> rose: you have your daughters and your wife. >> and i need my monsters. >> rose: my monsters. >> absolutely. >> rose: you're going to be okay. >> i would be very lonely. >> rose: her's a great beginning for a novel. here's a great beginning for a novel. try this out. once upon a time -- >> hey. i think it has some validity. i'm going to register that.
>> rose: just as one clip, the aforementioned great show that you and i did, here it is, roll tape. >> one morning at 6:00 a.m. in the morning strangely one guy called me and said you know, your fill some a masterpiece but you need to take out the second story of it. everything out. i said are you crazy? you know, so i admire you but -- so during the next ten days, i don't know why so early he called me just like going on about what to take out. are you so great. you should -- and i had been in my house editing by myself seven months and i was getting crazy and the film was two hours and 45 minutes and i need to take down. so one day he shows up. he knocks on the door, i go up and there is this guy with the eyes like a kid like that. hi, i'm gee airo del toro. sow went directly to the refrigerator. he ate like tons of food. my wife was like completely panicked. and i enjoyed the next three days like my happiest day in
my life, fighting every day and he helped me really at the end to shape the film. >> that a true story. >> it is. >> rose: the confidence and arrogance to say you got to take this out. >> alphonso called me. alphonso called me and said look there is this guy that is brilliant but he is so stubborn that we think the only guy that he is as stubborn as him is you. and essentially it was king kong stands against godzilla. alphonso set it up. and he was, you know, he was sending me to do the deed. i was his mercenary. and i went there and you know, we disagreed. actually what is great, what is great is he says we took out three -- he started by saying 13 minutes. they were 206789 he said 13 in the first interview. second interview i heard him, he said 7. last interview i had him he said 3. right? now the great thing is when i moved all my stuff out of the house into my man cave, i found a great artifact. i found the original tape
of -- when i saw it first and it's 20 minutes. 20 -- all he hand rock it's 20 minutes. >> i you have the tape. >> i have the tape. >> all right, the book is called" the strain "guillermo del toro and chuck hogon who has written a number of books, i will give you titles you may recognize. the killing moon, prince of thieves, the blood artist and the standoff. thank you and much success. >> a pleasure and a diet in the future. >> i will come check on you in new zealand. >> please do. >> thank you for joining us. see you next time.